Elvis Costello’s Aim Still True at Fillmore Denver

Elvis Costello’s Aim Still True at Fillmore Denver

December 4, 2018 Off By Denver Thread

Photos by Michael McGrath, Story by Amy McGrath

Elvis Costello started his Denver Fillmore Auditorium show early and in a hurry: 3 minutes before his scheduled 8pm start time he launched into a speedy romp through “This Year’s Girl.” This year’s girl is 40 years older than she was when Costello introduced her in 1978’s “This Year’s Model,” an album chock full of Costello greatest hits: “No Action,” “The Beat,” “Pump it Up,” “Radio Radio.” But that album is just one of the 25 studio albums, plus numerous compilations, collaborations and soundtracks that Elvis has contributed in the last four decades. And both Costello’s recent release “Look Now” and his show at the Fillmore are a clear reminder: Elvis Costello remains one of the coolest, most interesting voices in Rock and Roll today.

Costello’s set at the Fillmore represented a wide swath of his musical stylings from over the decades- from the brash hipster new wave of “Pump it Up” to the Burt Bacharach-inspired torch song “Photographs Can Lie.” The steam behind Costello’s set was provided by his long time band The Imposters: keyboardist Steve Nieve, drummer Pete Thomas and his bass player of nearly two decades, Davey Faragher. Rounding out the band and bringing lots of life to the stage and sound was the presence of backing vocalists Kitten Kuroi and Briana Lee.

Costello, often rumored cantankerous, was funny and engaging from the stage- telling stories, cracking jokes,  introducing his band (a couple of times?) with great warmth. It was not a perfect show, but it was a really real show:  Costello’s voice was generally resonant but sometimes cracked. The band occasionally meandered through the vast musical territory that Costello was travelling, but coalesced in a big way when it mattered, like during the sinister “Watching the Detectives.”

The strongest, sweetest note of the night came late in the set when the “Alison- Little Wing- Somewhere over the Rainbow” mashup turned Costello’s over-played adult radio classic into an unexpectedly magical moment.